Alabama’s Crisis of Leadership

The State of Alabama is in crisis. Our Speaker of the State House of Representatives, our Governor, and our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court all are hamstrung by accusations of impropriety, abuse of their authority, and failure to execute their office in accordance with their oath. Each is finding out what life is like on the wrong end of allegations. Meanwhile in the US District Court, the Middle District of Alabama is in the midst of a judicial emergency, having lost one District Judge to resignation and another to senior status. The presiding judge is handling the workload that previously was divided among 3 judges. Where and when can we expect relief?

On the state side, the people of Alabama will have to start holding their leaders accountable and sending a message that we expect them to do their (highly paid) jobs or we will remove them from office. The federal side is a bit more complicated. My understanding is that we cannot expect relief from the judicial crisis in the Middle District for at least 18 months after the presidential election in November. In the meantime, one judge will be responsible for all civil filings in the District, while criminal cases will continue to be handled by a hodge podge of visiting and specially appointed judges, all of whom have differing judicial temperaments and ways of doing things.

As a legal practitioner and an observer of state and federal government for decades, it is discouraging for me to see our leaders and our institutions fail us so miserably. The people of our state deserve better.

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